District committed to healthy LGBTIQ+ community
RPA Sexual Health Clinic offers free care and support.
Rex Zhang understands the significance of staying healthy.
"I came to RPA's Sexual Health Clinic after I realised the importance of regular sexual health checks. It's a form of self-care and being responsible for your health," he said.
The Clinic's services include providing testing and treatment for people experiencing symptoms of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV, sexual health related counselling and sexual health check-ups for gay men.
"The staff here are very friendly. I feel like they put in effort to make sure their clients feel safe and comfortable.
"The nurses here guided me hand in hand to run through the confidentiality with me. They explained the different technical terms to me to make sure I understood what's going on," the gay university student said.
A patient may see one of the Clinic's doctors or a nurses for a medical issue or a counsellor to discuss information on sexual health, safer sex or relationship issues.
Rex has shared his story ahead of the 2021 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival.
The theme for this year's Festival is RISE – a call to action to work together to create a better world for everyone.
Sydney Local Health District is home to one of Australia's biggest LGBTIQ+ communities and is committed to ensuring that all people, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity, feel accepted, welcomed and valued.
"Our District's vision is to have an engaged, empowered and healthy LGBTIQ+ community and to be a leader in the delivery of equitable healthcare services," Dr Teresa Anderson, the District's Chief Executive, said.
Evidence shows gender and sexuality diverse people experience high levels of health disparities, including higher rates of poor mental health, higher smoking rates and poorer engagement with cancer screening programs.
"We're collaborating with consumers, their families and partner organisations, such as ACON and Rainbow Families, to ensure all of our services are responsive to the needs of our LGBTIQ+ community," Dr Anderson said.
For Rex, the counselling service has been a source of support.
"I know my counsellor is always there and she respected me. She is willing to listen to what I have to say and she never judged me. She made me feel safe.
"I would definitely recommend the Sexual Health Clinic… it's important for us to have a place where we can find help. [And] where we can meet when we need the help, he said.
The Clinic is a confidential and free service. A Medicare card is not required nor is a referral.
For more information, or to make an appointment at the Clinic, please call 02 9515 1200.